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10 Things That Are (Amazingly Enough) Younger Than John McCain

by Genevieve M. Blaber

The 2008 Republican presidential nominee and current senator of Arizona, John McCain, has taken a lot of flack for his age, whether from late-night comedians or casual critics. Born on August 29, 1936, the senior senator is even older than prominent Republicans like Gen. Colin Powell and former Vice President Dick Cheney, and has been a member of Congress since 1983. It's getting harder to remember a time when McCain wasn't working in Congress, so it's not surprising that many people are hard-pressed to name something that has been around longer than him, period.

In fact, many of the things you'd think are ready for senior care are actually no older than McCain. Whether it's because they weren't on the store shelves, hadn't been established, or weren't even completed, here are 10 surprising things that will always call John McCain their senior.

The Golden Gate Bridge - Connecting the city of San Francisco to Marin County on the mainland, the Golden Gate Bridge is anything but a “Bridge to Nowhere.” It's also not any older than McCain. Though the concept of a bridge across the San Francisco Bay had been tossed around for years, the project didn't get underway until 1933. The Golden Gate Bridge wouldn't be finished for some time, finally opening to the public in May of 1937 -- nearly a full year after McCain was born. At least the two will be happy to know they share their golden years.

Mount Rushmore - Whether McCain secretly envisions his visage added onto the Mount Rushmore National Memorial we'll never know. But we do know that for all the old-time presidents that already grace it, this national monument is still younger than McCain. Running up a bill well over $900,000, work on Mount Rushmore began in 1927 and wasn't completed until 14 years later when McCain was 5 years old. Seems like they weren't in a rush.

The Ballpoint Pen - As a former naval aviator accustomed to life above the clouds, McCain can truly appreciate the advent of the ballpoint pen. Though designs for ballpoint pens had been sketched out as early as 1888, the ballpoint pen we know today was only patented in 1938. It quickly gained the interest of the British Government, whose air force needed a writing implement that, unlike fountain pens, wouldn't leak at high altitudes.

Marvel Comics - As the launchpad for such pop cultural and all-American heroes as Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four, Marvel Comics has built up a legendary presence that seems almost timeless. But this comic monolith had a very real beginning in 1939, when McCain was already 3 years old. It was established under the moniker “Timely Comics” and in the years that followed, would undergo two name changes and see the birth of a cavalry of superheroes.

Pepperidge Farm - While the famous “Pepperidge Farm Remembers” advertisements of the 1970s equated Pepperidge Farm with nostalgic visions of the past, we're sure McCain remembers a bit more. And why wouldn't he, when he was born a year before the company was founded? Thanks to World War II rationing that forced Pepperidge Farm to cut down production, it's likely that McCain didn't get his first taste of Pepperidge Farm until the late 1940s when the company opened a new commercial bakery in Connecticut.

The States of Alaska and Hawaii - If McCain's schoolteachers had him memorize all the states as a child, there'd be two crucial missing members of the union: Hawaii and Alaska, respectively the birthplace of his Democratic opponent, now President Barack Obama, and the home state of McCain's very own vice-presidential running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin. Although both the regions of Hawaii and Alaska had long been a part of the United States, they weren't awarded statehood until 1959, prompting a change to the U.S. flag that McCain, then a student at the United States Naval Academy, would have had to salute.

M&Ms - Who can imagine an early childhood without these candy-coated chocolates? McCain can. While he might have had his fair share of jelly beans, candy corn, and Snickers bars, M&Ms wouldn't hit the market until sometime after the conflict that inspired them, the Spanish Civil War, ended in 1939. Even then M&Ms were exclusively sold to the army for the duration of World War II, making them unavailable to then-civilian McCain.

Bazooka Joe - Here's one Joe that wasn't mentioned much during the 2008 presidential election: Bazooka Joe, the colorful comic strip and its eye-patch-wearing title character. Detailing the everyday lives and one-liners of a group of all-American teens with some quirky fashion choices, Bazooka Joe first wrapped its way around Bazooka bubble gum in the early 1950s. That means McCain didn't receive his first pun-laden fortune until he was at least 18. Say it ain't so, Joe.

Betty and Veronica - Before America had to choose between Obama and McCain, Archie had to choose between the two comic cuties, Betty and Veronica. But for all the years they've spent being rivals in love and fashion, Betty and Veronica -- as well as the rest of the Archie crew -- only started classes at Riverdale High in 1942. If McCain read any of the Archie Comics in his youth, he's long since outgrown them. Meanwhile, despite several redesigns and dozens of proms, Betty and Veronica aren't ready for Assisted Living just yet -- the girls remain eternally 17.

Genevieve M. Blaber offers a diverse and humorous take on a variety of topics, from politics to pop culture, education to careers. Her blog, at I Went There, features the piece Six Things That Will Be (Mis)Remembered About This Year's Political Election.

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